24 June 2014

Israel Tortures and Shackles Palestinian Children

Palestinian children as young as 9, are being held at the G4S prison at Ofer and at other gaols, beaten up, forced to sit in extremely uncomfortable positions, with food thrown on the floor.  It is impossible to imagine this could every happen to a Jewish child.

Thus we see the Israeli State in all its savagery, with its accomplices in the Palestinian Authority. Children in the Palestinian Authority juvenile justice system

It is fast becoming a scandal, the way Palestinian children as young as 9, are being held at G4Security Establishments, beaten up, forced to sit in extremely uncomfortable positions, with food thrown on the floor.

Thus we see the Israeli State in all its savagery, with its accomplices in the Quisling Palestinian Authority. Children in the Palestinian Authority juvenile justice system  adopting the same tactics as the Israeli military.

Below is a story that needs no further comment

Tony Greenstein


www.inminds.com, 22th June 2014

DATE: Tuesday 24nd June 2014  4:30pm (come 30 minutes early to give time for security checks)
LOCATION:  Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA ( Closest tube: Westminster)

Um Fadi, the mother of Palestinian tortured child prisoner Ali Shamlawi - one of the 5 Hares Boys, will address a special meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Britain-Palestine (APPG) on 24th June 2014. The meeting is in the House of Commons and is open to the public, please come to show your support. Its starts at 4:30pm but please come 30 minutes early for the security checks that have to take place before your are allowed in to the House of Commons.

Um Fadi's visit to the UK including this event has been graciously organised by our friends at Watford Friends Of Salfeet:

On 14th March 2013 a simple car accident, when a illegal Israeli settler car speeding along a road built illegally on stolen Palestinian land, crashed in to the back of an Israeli truck which had stopped to change a flat tire resulting in four people being hurt, was later at the behest of angry settlers presented as an attack by Palestinian stone throwing youth. The truck drivers earlier testimony that he stopped due to a flat tire was replaced with the new reason being that he had seen stones by the road, and an accident that nobody saw suddenly became a terror attack with 61 witnesses including the police!

Over the next few days over 50 masked Israeli soldiers with attack dogs stormed the local village of Hares in the early hours of the morning and in waves of violent arrests kidnapped the children of the village. In total 19 children were taken to the infamous G4S secured children's dungeon at Al Jalame and locked up in solitary confinement for up to 2 weeks in filthy windowless 1m by 2m hole in the ground cells with no mattress. The Israeli prime minister Benyamin Natanyahu announced to the settlers that he had “caught the terrorists”. The children were violently tortured and sexual threats were made against the female members of their families in order to coerce confessions from the boys.

With the confessions and the new “eye-witness” statements, five of the Hares boys were charged with 25 counts of attempted murder each, even though there were only four people in the car and all are now safe at home. Apparently the military court had decided that 25 stones were thrown, each with an "intent to kill". The five boys - Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Mehdi Suleiman, Tamer Souf, and Ammar Souf are currently locked up in another G4S secured facility - Megiddo prison where G4S provides the entire central command room.

In violation of international law Israel has turned prisons in to money making enterprises with the boys essentially forced to pay for their own imprisonment. Israel deliberately fails to provide Palestinian prisoners the basic essentials - edible food, cloths (underwear, shoes..) and hygiene products (soap, toothbrush..). The boys are forced to buy these at the extortionately priced prison shop costing the families over € 125/month to provide for one child's basic needs in prison.

With no evidence of a crime the military court keeps on postponing the hearing dates from one month to the next, meanwhile the boys remain caged indefinitely and their families facing financial ruin in the process. The occupation in its cruelty doesn't inform the families of cancellations. The families spend most of their day queuing and enduring the humiliation at the checkpoints, then waiting at the court in anticipation of catching a glimpse of their son.. only to be disappointed at the end. Not that evidence, or lack of it, has any bearing in an Israeli military court - a study conducted by the Israeli NGO 'No Legal Frontiers' over a 12 month period concluded that 100% of Palestinian children brought before the military court are convicted. If the five boys are convicted they will be locked up for over 25 years - five young lives ruined with no evidence of a crime let alone their guilt.

Why I resigned from Left Unity

Feminists Brook no Debate on  'Safe Spaces' - Manchester Branch suspensions

I resigned from Left Unity nearly a month ago. Set up in a blaze of publicity, it has fallen victim to identity politics and navel gazing. It reports that it has 2,000 members. If so they make next to no impact. There is no internal life in the organisation, no paper or journal, and criticism of policies such as ‘safe spaces’ for women are frowned upon or, as is the case in Manchester subject to censorship and suspension.

Ironically, despite the number of ex-SWP members, such as Richard Seymour in LU, they have taken up the SWP's forlorn campaign - understanding nothing and learning even less
Socialist Resistance of the 4th International, a chameleon group that long ago abandoned any class analysis or Marxism, has no problem with identity, as opposed to class politics. The emigrants from the SWP have failed to understand that the problem with their leadership was not a failure to appreciate feminism, but a failure to create a democratic culture where the leadership could be held to account, unlike the present day oligarchy.

No campaigns have been organised nationally (what use a party?) and now we hear that those who have spoken out, in the Manchester Branch have been suspended and the e-mail list shut down. Left Unity: Freedom to criticise must be defended - Laurie McCauley reports on his suspension from Manchester branch Left Unity was supposed to be different. A pluralist party, we were told, which could accommodate varied views within its ranks. The mistakes of the ‘old left’, of enforcing a false ideological unity that only led to splits, would be avoided. Openness and transparency were to be the order of the day. . It was a Socialist Resistance member, the miserable Ian Parker, who proposed the suspension and the closure of the e-mail list.
As Laurie writes: ‘Left Unity was supposed to be different. A pluralist party, we were told, which could accommodate varied views within its ranks. The mistakes of the ‘old left’, of enforcing a false ideological unity that only led to splits, would be avoided. Openness and transparency were to be the order of the day.’

It is clear to me that a small group of feminists and men they have guilt-tripped into agreeing with them, have effectively begun to ‘purify’ the organisation. No doubt it will be a good experience for these women before they continue their journey to New Labour.

What began this episode was when Dawud Islam, a former deputy leader of Respect, was demonised for the heinous crime of not coming to a snap judgement on the guilt or innocence of Steve Hedley, a trade unionist accused of domestic violence. His own union, the RMT found he had no case to answer but being working class he must be guilty of something!

Meanwhile LU, which has a Rolls Royce constitution but precious few people to fill all the new posts, flounders about making no impact whatsoever. Ironically, it has adopted the SWP campaign against a 'racist' UKIP, thus entirely misunderstanding this party.  That is why I resigned.

Tony Greenstein
Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dear Left Unity,

I have always supported the idea of a broad party to the left of the Labour Party that would include a spectrum from the left of the Labour Party to the far-Left. I have therefore been extremely disappointed in where Left Unity is going, or rather not going.
I sent an Open Letter to you earlier this year  and asked that it be published on LU’s web site, a request that was ignored. I notice though how Fred Leplat, a prominent member of Socialist Resistance has an article on the web site and certain other members have privileged access. Clearly some people are more equal than others.

Despite having a flying start LU has become entangled in the sectarian politics of feminist and anti-racist identity politics, which 20 years ago were characterised by women for Palestine and Jenny Bourne of the Institute of Race Relations as profoundly reactionary. But then who is to say which identity trumps another identity? It has led to LU becoming an organisation primarily focussed on itself. In prioritising the demands of a few inconsequential feminists with no political base, whose desire is not to be challenged politically but for people to accept their arguments because of the ‘identity’ of those who make them, it has abandoned the most basic democratic norms. It wasted a whole day last December in London debating a constitution for an organisation 100 times as large.

Since then most mailings from the Centre have concerned elections for the multiplicity of posts in LU. Barely a word has been issued concerning prioritising campaigns such as the destruction of the NHS or the welfare state. Bogus issues of interest to just a handful of careerists, such as intersectionality, have been deemed of more importance instead.

It is little wonder that LU didn’t see fit to stand candidates in the European elections when it has such pressing internal issues to deal with. The result is that UKIP and its anti-immigration policies have been given a free ride and LU has abandoned what could have been an effective platform for introspective navel gazing.

As a political activist in the student movement, Irish, anti-fascist, unemployed and Palestine solidarity campaigns, for the past 40 years, I have wondered in amazement at where LU’s leadership believes it is going and its complete lack of strategy as the old, seasoned cooks of the left – Socialist Resistance, the SWP émigrés and people like Andrew Burgin, Liz Davies and Kate Hudson – have taken an organisational and political grip over LU.

LU’s leadership could do worse than to look at the success of Syriza in Greece and try and learn some lessons. However I fear that they are too fixed in their views and politics to learn lessons from anyone. They insist on following the same strategies that embraced Respect and destroyed the Socialist Alliance. Politically LU has demonstrated complete impotence on questions like Ireland. My conclusion is that the time for success has now passed and what is left is a terrible missed politically opportunity.

I have therefore decided that no purpose is served by my continuing to remain a member and I have decided to resign from Left Unity.
In Solidarity

Tony Greenstein